3 pitfalls of telemedicine

During the pandemic, the use of telemedicine surged, offering opportunities for care for people stuck indoors. However, it's not without its downfalls, presenting some serious challenges to be solved, The Legal Examiner reported Feb. 8. 

Three issues with telemedicine in its current state:

1. Technical and access issues

Access to reliable internet and technology is essential for telemedicine. One in 3 senior households don't have access to a computer or smartphone, severely limiting access to some of the most vulnerable groups. Even with adequate technology, many don't know how to use it. 

2. Missed signs 

While useful, telehealth methods can make it harder for physicians to spot signs of physical or mental illness, which could result in misdiagnosis. Around 67 percent of physicians were worried they missed signs of medication misuse over the pandemic, with only 50 percent of physicians saying they were confident they could pick up these signs over a virtual appointment. To compare, 91 percent of physicians were confident they could identify such signs during an in-person visit.

3. Security 

To make up for the demand for telehealth services during the pandemic, officials loosened rules regarding security and HIPAA compliance for virtual appointments. Many sensitive medical appointments have been conducted over Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts. These platforms are not built for such appointments and thus pose security and privacy concerns. This will likely last until the end of the pandemic.

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